Bullock, Henry Allen (1906–1973)

By: Naomi W. Ledé

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: September 8, 2020

Henry Allen Bullock, first black professor appointed to the faculty of arts and sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, was born on May 2, 1906, in Tarboro, North Carolina, the son of Jessie and Aurelia Bullock. He attended local schools and graduated from Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia, in 1928, with a B.A. in social sciences and Latin classics; he received from the University of Michigan an M.A. in sociology and comparative psychology in 1929 and a Ph.D. in sociology in 1942. He was an Earhardt Foundation fellow at the University of Michigan and was twice a general-education fellow.

Bullock taught sociology at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in 1929–30. He was subsequently head of the Department of Sociology at Prairie View A&M, Waller County, Texas, where he taught from 1930 to 1949. In 1949–50 he was head of the Department of Sociology and chairman of the Division of Social Sciences at Dillard University in New Orleans. From 1950 to 1969 he was director of graduate research, head of the sociology department, and chairman of the Division of Social Sciences at Texas Southern University in Houston. In 1961 he was named a Minnie Stevens Piper Fellow as an outstanding Texas professor.

In the spring of 1969 Bullock became a visiting professor in the University of Texas at Austin history department to teach a new course, "The Negro in America." He was appointed a regular faculty member for the following fall semester. From 1969 to 1971 he was professor of history and sociology and chairman and designer of the university's first ethnic-studies program. Upon his retirement in 1971 he returned to his home in Houston.

In the early 1930s Bullock organized conferences in the South to train Black teachers and administrators in more effective teaching techniques. Among his numerous publications were "A Comparison of the Academic Achievements of White and Negro College Graduates" in the Journal of Educational Research in 1950 and "Racial Attitudes and the Employment of Negroes" in the American Journal of Sociology in 1951, as well as "Urban Homicide in Theory and Fact" in the Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science (1955) and "Significance of the Racial Factor in the Length of Prison Sentences" in the same journal in 1961. "The Houston Murder Problem: Its Nature, Apparent Causes, and Probable Cures" was a special study for the office of the mayor of Houston in 1961. Bullock's various economic and ecological studies resulted in the publication of "Consumer Motivations in Black and White" in Harvard Business Review (1961) and "Spatial Aspects of the Differential Birthrate" in the American Journal of Sociology (1943). In 1957 he also helped produce a series of twelve thirty-minute films, "People are Taught To Be Different," with fellow faculty members of Texas Southern, for the National Educational Television and Radio center, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The film received second place in the world competition, presented by the Institute for Education by Radio-Television, at the Twenty-third American Exhibition of Educational Radio-Television Programs. Bullock did a study of the attitudes of young children toward the television series "Discovery '63" on a grant from the American Broadcasting Company. He believed that Black colleges should continue to exist to develop the leadership needed for Blacks and for the nation. He served on the Houston Community Council, the Texas Advisory Committee of the United States Civil Rights Commission, and the Advisory Group for Equal Employment for President Lyndon B. Johnson. For a number of years Bullock wrote a weekly column for the Houston Informer, a Black newspaper. His book, A History of Negro Education in the South, won the Bancroft Prize in 1968. Bullock died in Houston on February 8, 1973, and was buried in Paradise Cemetery there. He was survived by his wife, Merle (Anderson), and three children.

Faculty Publications File, Texas Southern University. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Education
  • Educators
  • Social Sciences
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Naomi W. Ledé, “Bullock, Henry Allen,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/bullock-henry-allen.

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September 8, 2020

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